Author: Pete Loughlin

We hear all the time about big companies paying suppliers late, abusing their power to take advantage of the good will of smaller companies by delaying payment for as long as possible in order to enrich themselves at the expense of weaker, more vulnerable companies. Well, it’s not true. Deliberate late payment by large companies in all but a few exceptional cases doesn't go on. Systematic management of cash flow by withholding payments is a myth. The reality is, surprisingly, much worse!

You're implementing AP automation but before you press the START button - take a step back and ask yourself these questions. Are your purchase to pay processes as water tight as they can be? Do you always know that you pay for goods and services that were actually delivered? Can you be absolutely sure that no one in your organization is likely to commit fraud? And finally, do you realize that as soon as you press the START button on your AP automation, fraud can be automated too?

Germany is the biggest market within the biggest economic region in the world and thanks to the German's decision on e-invoicing, the cost of doing business in the EU has just started to drop. The news as reported by Christian Lanng is perfectly timed. It coincides with EXPP, the biggest e-invoicing conference in Europe, that kicks off next week and it comes at a time when the EU desperately needs a bit of good economic news. So why is this so important?

The growth in use of social networks and blogs is a remarkable phenomenon. According to recent research by Nielsen, internet users in the US spend more time on facebook than any other web brand and mobile access to on-line social networks and blogs has increased dramatically - for mature internet users, it's more than doubled in 12 months. This isn't just a US phenomenon. Australians spend more time on social networks and blogs than any of the countries that  Nielsen surveyed and Germans spend a whopping 12.7 billion minutes on blogs and social media - more than any other web category.

Adding to its portfolio of solutions that create rapid value for customers worldwide, SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) today announced its intent to acquire business-to-business (B2B) integration provider Crossgate. A leading provider of hosted B2B integration services, Crossgate enables companies to fully integrate and network with trading partners, clients and suppliers, allowing electronic data exchange with any business partner regardless of their technical capability. As a result of this acquisition, SAP will enable networking at the enterprise level, providing an easy way for trading partners to collaborate, share data and automate processes that link customers and suppliers for streamlined B2B e-commerce.

You have a set of accounts payable processes that would be comfortable in a 19th century setting. Pieces of parchment passed from from the vendor documenting the agreed transaction. An original signature scrawled with indelible ink pen proving the authenticity of the document. And the legislation surrounding the processes - the laws that allow the authorities to be sure that they're getting their slice of the commercial cake, rely on these paper processes.